I was going to wait to review Avengers Unplugged #3 because we just wrapped up Earth’s Mightiest Guest Stars Week and I figured that we have all had our fill of The Avengers for a while. But I can’t wait – I have to share the love. Plus, it’s Internet lurker extraordinaire Dan Coyle’s birthday, and I promised him a special custom “The Pain” banner, so here we go. This one’s for Dan. This one’s for the children.
People often ask me, “Dave, how do you get your abs so rock-hard?” And then they ask me, “Dave, why do you have so many awful comic books?”
My answers are a) a high-protein diet and lots of crunches, and b) because I have a sickness and the only cure for it is bad comics. And more cowbell. If bad comics are like medicine for my illness, then this comic is like a hypodermic needle full of adrenaline plunging into my heart, Uma Thurman-style.
Avengers Unplugged #3 is both glorious and awful, hellish and sublime. This 99-cent comic feels cheap and soulless, yet it is somehow brilliant in its suckiness. It stinks of sulfur and lies and dead kittens – it’s that bad.
Just looking at the Boob War cover (above) you know you’re in trouble. Two swaybacked, wasp-waisted heroines looking all tough and shit? Sign me up! And look at the guns on The Black Widow – she is freakishly ripped. Looks like they don’t test for steroids in The Avengers. Plus, are their asses nestled together? It looks like Crystal has one cheek parked right in Black Widow’s butt. I can’t decide if that’s sexy or not – and if I can’t decide, that means it probably isn’t.
The plot is as scanty as the outfits our heroines wear: Avengers Crystal and Black Widow hit the town for a “Ladies Nite” at Bimboyz, a male strip club/pizza parlor, but their fun is interrupted by a rampaging, shape-shifting Adaptoid. It’s even worse than it sounds.
And wouldn’t you know it? It’s Superhero Night at Bimboyz! A dancer dressed as Quicksilver offers Crystal a lap dance. Tee hee!
The Adaptoid throws a car through Bimboyz, miraculously missing everyone inside the presumably crowded club. The heroines attack, dressed in strange outfits that I have recently mocked here. Let’s take a look at the action. Please ignore the image in the upper left hand corner, with the SKOOOSH sound effect. It’s better left unexplained:
I like how The Adaptoid calls Crystal and The Widow “grrrls.”
Notice in the panel above how The Black Widow is flipping up into the air, showing more thigh than Sailor Moon. Below we have the very next panel in the comic, in which The Black Widow lands on a piece of debris, which she uses as a fulcrum to… to…
Just take a look:
She can flip cars into the air: such is the incredible acrobatic skill of The Black Widow. Do you know how long it takes to learn how to do that? Very few Olympic gymnasts ever reach that level of car flipping mastery. Either that, or The Black Widow has mysteriously acquired the ability to create Reverse Bubble Gum Rainbows which can propel cars into the air. But do you know how long it takes to learn to do that? A long time.
The Adaptoid counter-attacks, “causing a rippling shockwave with his fists” that scatter our heroines (below):
Eventually, thanks to Crystal’s ambiguous matter-transforming powers, The Avengers suit up in their costumes, and we are treated to this strange panel:
“You go, girl!”
I will just let that sit there without comment like a fish dying on a dock.
One of the things that bugs me about this comic is the strange coloring. From the pink Reverse Bubble Gum Rainbow to the panel above, this book is full of strange, unmotivated coloring. Like, in the panel above, where is the light around Crystal’s groinal region coming from? Perhaps from her glowing hand, but her hand is on fire and the groinal light is cold. You see what I mean? Where is the frickin’ light coming from? And what’s with Crystal’s gaunt, skeletal throat? That’s just creepy. It’s like she has Mary Jane’s body and Aunt May’s neck.
Check out this panel, where The Adaptoid battle our heroines out in front of a McDonald’s surrogate:
Of course, The Adaptoid is tricked into shocking himself on the incredibly high-voltage McDonald’s sign, writhing while Crystal makes lame jokes:
Avengers Unplugged #3 is a bad comic for a number of reasons: the rushed, sloppy quality of the art, the hackneyed plot, the groan-inducing dialogue, and the utter and wonderful artlessness of it all. On one level it’s a hilarious glimpse into what guys think women do and what they wear when they go out on the town. It’s only missing a collage where the heroines try on different sexy outfits – if it had that it would be complete.
There you have it – a comic so bad that it deserves back-to-back posts, so awful that it deserves both our scorn and our praise. A comic that deserves the coveted Special Dan Coyle Edition The Pain Award: